Friday, June 24, 2016

Week 3: Hitting the Streets of Buenos Aires!

                            Me and my wonderful companion: Hermana Abilee Manner

 I have made wonderful friends here and the Spanish is coming along. I am trying to have patience with the language but there are still frustrating moments.

Proselytizing! So they didn’t tell us much what to expect and so it was really scary when a teacher just gave us a map and then we got dropped off on the side of a busy road just with another set of elders! It took us awhile to figure out where we were since there weren’t street signs, they were painted on buildings instead. And wow it is really hard to explain what the city looked like. All the houses are concrete and had gates surrounding the front of their house. There was graffiti and trash everywhere. And so many dogs!!! Every house has at least 3 and then there are strays. None of them really bothered us though. We talked to and gave a pass along card or pamphlet to 25 people throughout the afternoon, mainly just street contacting. We tried clapping outside of gates but didn’t have much success that way. People either avoided us or would just stare.

                                I love wearing this nametag, and all it represents
 It was hard to get up the courage to try to talk to people since they looked so busy with their own lives. We didn’t understand a lot of what people were saying, but they said they didn’t understand us either even though we thought we were speaking slowly and clearly! I guess we still don't pronounce Spanish words quite like the natives. It wasn’t so bad though. It was great practice! Two older men tried to kiss us as is the culture, but I retreated both times and gave them a handshake both times as we were told, but my companion wasn’t as quick as I was so she was kissed and it was really funny. 

The 60ish Latinos that were all here left since their 3 weeks here were complete so there was almost 2 full days when it was just 16 of us North Americans. We had some really fun volleyball games during exercise time and we just loved having the building to ourselves. All today, the new set have been coming in and we are the seniors since we are the only ones that have already been here 3 weeks. Our new roommates seem nice enough but none of them speak any English so we will definitely get lots of practice! 
                                              With my wonderful Latina roommates
The Spanish is coming along. I can string sentences together pretty well and teach lessons with my companion but I know my grammar is terrible. I often wonder how I will ever remember all these conjugations and tenses. Someday!

                                                     Our Marvelous CCM District

                              The "CCM," the Buenos Aires Missionary Training Center

The Beautiful Argentina Buenos Aires Temple 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Tender Mercy

From Adam McBride:  We were so happy to see her first email after she had been out about 8 days. We were so looking forward to receiving her first letter. While in Provo directing a session of EFY, I had my session of 900 participants count down with me each day as I opened my email, only to come up empty. Finally, on the last day of our session, I was able to report to the kids that the email had come! Funny thing is just this week while sorting through our "junk" folder, I found an email from Audrey on the day of her arrival stating that all was well and that she had a great journey. We must have needed a few more lessons in patience.
     We received a tender mercy this week. Sister Benton, who along with her husband preside over the Argentina Missionary Training Center, posted a short video of a group of missionaries singing at their Sunday night fireside. We were so excited to see Audrey back in the corner playing piano. It truly is amazing how much it means to a missionary family to hear from them.  Today, Saturday June 18 is the day that Audrey and her companion venture out into the city of Buenos Aires with their Spanish for a few hours to contact and speak with the people. Nothing like a mission to build faith! We look forward to hearing about her adventure!

Hey...Look what came today! Sister Benton graciously posted this picture with Audrey along with her and President Benton before she headed out for "practice tracting" in the city:

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Week 2!

Wow the days go by so quickly here!!! We were getting into learning more Spanish grammar not just vocabulary so that is frustrating. My least favorite word is irregular. There are so many rules to remember but I just keep 1 Nephi 3:7 in mind and keep pushing forward. My companion Hermana Manners is such a big help because she took some Spanish classes before the mission. We are such great friends and I am so grateful to be with her. I feel so lucky with my district too. We get along so well and we have really great, spiritual district meetings. It}s hard to believe that I have only kown them for two weeks. Earlier this week, our district became 7 when one of our Elders was sent home, so now the elders are a trio. It was hard and it made me realize that it is such a priviledge to be here. There are actually more Sisters in our distict now which I think is really cool.

Its supposed to be officially winter here in a few days but I am guessing it is always in the 50s to 60s here. It has rained a few times, but other than that it has been great weather! The Latinos all bundle up to go outside and they think I am crazy when I am in my shorts and t shirt. 

Out of all the Latinos here, none of them play piano so I have been able to play here quite a bit which makes me happy. There are two other girls in my district that play so we all rotate who plays.

The first week I feel like the focus was on the language rather than spiritual stuff, or I was just too stressed out but this week was much better. We had more lessons on the gospel and effective ways to teach and the gift of tongues this week which was so 
 great. The Spirit is so strong here.The teachers here are so great and I love them so much. Hermano Helller and Hermano Pitarch are our main ones and they are so funny! Hmo Pitarch got off his mission from Brazil 8 months ago and speaks in pretty broken Spanish which is so funny! All the teachers said last week they were going to start teaching in Spanish this week but none of them have. There is much more to missionary work than I thought like how to teach to people}s needs and how to react to certain situations. My Spanish is coming along. We have been doing an activity in one of our classes where we have to teach with no notes and it was actually such a great confidence boost because I realiazed how much vocabulary I actually know and that I don}t need to be so dependant on notes. We have daily lessons we have to prepare for with fake investigators and they are getting better too, but it is so frustrating when they ask a question and I know a great answer in English but can}t say it in Spanish. 

Yesterday Hmo, Pitarch challenged us to do an English fast where we couldn}t speak English all day. We did great all morning but as it got later in the day, we were getting tired of it because we just couldn{t express ourselves with the vocab we know. It was still cool though. 

We are preparing to go prosccelyting this Saturday in an area that is actually in my mission boundaries. My companion and I will have 5 hours in the streets of the city and will try to talk to the people
. My companion is super scared, but I think it will be an adventure! 

Thank you for the prayers!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Week 1!

18 of us "North Americans" as they call us here met in Atlanta to fly to Buenos Aires. Total there are 80 missionaries here, 23 of whom are North Americans here and the others are all Latinos from all over South and Central America. The first two days were really unorganized because all but a few people know English so nobody told us what to do or where to go because they didn{t know how. But then they gave us a schedule and we have since gotten in a pretty good routine.

My companion is Hermana Manner. She is from Rexburg, Idaho and went to BYU for a year. We get along really well and she is really focused and hardworking. My district has 8 people, 4 elders and 4 sisters. They are great it is fun to talk with them. It is funny when we are trying to speak Spanish and we made terrible mistakes. haha whenever we talk to the Latinos a lot of they time they make faces or just stare because we are such beginners. But they are really good about helping us out because they know we are trying. During a lesson one of the Hermanas in my district said that Jesus was her Man instead of Jesus is my brother.  There were other funny mistakes but I can}t remember them!

 We have class about 12 hours a day and our two teachers actually know English pretty well, but have strong accents. They are both really funny and they make class enjoyable. One of them had a really hard time saying McBride and it was really funny! A lot of the Latios have trouble with it. Anyway, 
 The first few days were really hard and it is still frustrating when you work so hard to memorize phrases and words in Spanish and then the next time you review them, you can hardly remember. I am always pretty tired and have had a hard time concentrating sometimes, but my companion is really good at getting me back to work. I can pray in Spanish and I have the Missionary Purpose memorized and lots of vocabulary. Beginning the second day and every day since, my companion and I have been preparing and teaching a lesson in Spanish to our teacher who acts as an investigator. All the studying is not so bad because the meals and physical activity everyday break it up. My companion and I win a lot of ping pong and have fun playing volleyball too. Whenever we win a point in ping pong, the elders watching always scream and make a big deal about it since we are Hermanas. It is really funny.  This helps us get to know the elders and now they are more friendly at meals and we have gotten to know a lot of them better. The cafeteria only holds 40 people and there is just one option for each meal, then a small salad bar, bread, and fruit. The food is definitely Argentine or at least I am not familiar with the combinations of food they cook. It is usually pretty tasty though.

We have tiny little rooms that each have three bunk beds,tiny closets, and ONE bathroom! One bathroom for 6 girls is really hard especially when we only have 45 minutes in the morning and an hour at night to shower. My companion and I have 4 Latino roommates who are so funny and nice. They are all from different places: Peru, Mexica, Columbia, and Argentina. At first it was awkward because of the language barrier, but as we started learning Spanish, we can understand a lot more what they say. Two of them know a little English and can understand us pretty well so that helps. Talking to them at night before bed has been one of my favorite parts. It is funny to teach them songs and phrases in English and they do the same for us in Spanish.

The Buenos Aires Temple is very close to the MTC and I can see it right out of the window! This morning, we all got to go in and it was really beautiful. Everything that was said was in Spanish though so I didn}t understand very much, but it was still a cool experience!

This is a great place and I feel blessed to be here. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I am in Argentina because I feel so comfortable here.

Hermana McBride